In the wake of the financial crisis, there was a momentof hope that predatory businesses would no longer be able to pick at our bones like vultures. Instead, we’ve seen Dodd-Frank weakened and stalled, and the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stymied at every turn. In the latest round, Republicans are thwarting the confirmation of Richard Cordray to lead the Bureau. Meanwhile, we continue to get fleeced. Here are a few egregious scams to watch out for, along with ways to protect yourself.

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At some banks last year, revenue fell to levels not seen in more than five years, but pay did not. At Citigroup, revenue was the lowest since 2002. But the amount the bank spent on compensation was higher than in any other year between 2003 and 2006. At Bank of America, revenue last year was at the same level as in 2006, and the bank kept the amount it paid to employees in line with 2006. Profit at the bank last year, however, was one-fifth of the level in 2006.

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omewhere on earth, there must be a more difficult task than this: persuading American mortgage companies to lower payments for homeowners who can no longer afford their loans. But as Karina Montenegro struggles to accomplish this feat for a troubled borrower, she strains to imagine a more futile pursuit.

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